Dutch Appeals Court Orders Halt on F-35 Parts Export to Israel

A Dutch appeals court issued a mandate on Monday instructing the government to cease all exports of F-35 fighter jet components to Israel due to apprehensions regarding their potential involvement in breaches of international law during Israel’s Gaza campaign.

The court stipulated a seven-day timeframe for the state to comply with the directive and rejected a plea from government attorneys to suspend the order while awaiting an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Citing a palpable risk of F-35 parts being utilized in severe violations of international humanitarian law, the court emphasized the government’s obligation to adhere to the ruling promptly. The government announced its intention to appeal to the Supreme Court, contending that the order encroached upon the state’s prerogative to shape its foreign policy.

Trade Minister Geoffrey van Leeuwen asserted that the delivery of U.S. F-35 parts to Israel was justified, emphasizing their critical role in Israel’s security framework and its defense against regional threats, including those from Iran, Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon.

Van Leeuwen acknowledged uncertainty regarding the verdict’s impact on Israel, underlining ongoing discussions with partner nations regarding the matter.

The decision to appeal, Van Leeuwen clarified, was distinct from the troubling situation in Gaza. The conflict in the densely populated Gaza Strip has resulted in significant casualties and displacement, with conflicting narratives regarding alleged war crimes.

Amidst these legal proceedings, the United Nations’ International Court of Justice issued a separate ruling urging Israel to take preventive measures against acts of genocide in its conflict with Hamas, prompting renewed calls for restrictions on arms exports to Israel from human rights organizations.

The case against the Dutch government was initiated by various human rights groups, including the Dutch branch of Oxfam, with the hope of bolstering adherence to international law and safeguarding the rights of Gaza’s populace.

War in Gaza halts the sale of F-35 jet parts (Credits: NewsLooks)

In a departure from a prior ruling, the appeals court asserted that political considerations should not override the risk of violating international law concerning arms exports. It rebuffed the Dutch government’s argument against conducting a fresh assessment of export permits.

The Netherlands serves as a distribution hub for U.S.-owned F-35 parts, facilitating shipments to requesting countries, including Israel. Despite the ruling, the government pledged to advocate for its reliability within defense cooperation frameworks.

Presiding Judge Bas Boele suggested a potential for future exports to Israel under stringent conditions prohibiting their use in Gaza military operations.